Sucheta Dalal :Toxic K-10
Sucheta Dalal

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Toxic K-10   

February 25, 2010

SEBI allowed the Zee group to get away with a mere warning and Himachal Futuristic Communication Limited (HFCL), whose promoter, Vinay Maloo, was Ketan Parekh's closest buddy, has got away by paying just Rs10 crore without admitting or denying any charges. So who gets away next in what was known as the Ketan Parekh Scam? The answer lies in the list of K-10 stocks. They were: Global Telesystems, Zee Telefilms, HFCL, Silverline, Satyam Computers, SSI, Aftek Infosys, DSQ Software, Ranbaxy and Pentamedia. Isn't it ironical that most of them have self-destructed, barring Zee and Global Tele? Even Ranbaxy has been sold. Satyam turned out to be a bigger scam and got taken over. DSQ is defunct. HFCL (name changed to Dynamic Infotel), Pentamedia, Silverline and Aftek Infosys are limping along, nominally quoted. SSI has turned into a shadowy real-estate company called PVP Ventures.

The joint parliamentary committee (JPC) had concluded its report in 2003 by asking SEBI to investigate the companies involved with Ketan Parekh. In most cases, no action was needed, but some are already making a comeback in anticipation of a closure. A top SEBI official told us that since TC Nair, a former whole-time member, set a precedent by letting off the Zee group, the rest will get away too. In the decade since the scam, all the politicians who had demanded a second JPC, which merely wasted public money, are silent and probably clueless about the development.

-- Sucheta Dalal